Will the IRS scandal finally lead to the White House?
House Oversight Committee hearings on IRS targeting of Barack Obama’s political enemies resume on Thursday. Fox News reporter Carl Cameron strongly hinted on Wednesday evening that Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has uncovered testimony that will bring the scandal right up to the White House door. (Hat tip: Gateway Pundit.)
The Daily Caller has a preview of what’s on tap in the new hearings. It looks like the star of the show will be IRS lawyer Carter Hull:
Retiring IRS lawyer Carter C. Hull implicated the IRS Chief Counsel’s office, headed by Obama appointee William J. Wilkins, and Lois Lerner, the embattled head of the IRS’ exempt organizations office, in the IRS targeting scandal and made clear that the targeting started in Washington, according to leaked interviews that Hull granted to the Oversight Committee in advance of Thursday’s hearing.
Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George will return to Republican chairman Darrell Issa’s committee Thursday along with two central characters in the IRS saga: Hull and Cincinnati-based IRS employee Elizabeth Hofacre, who previously gave Hull’s name to congressional investigators, fingering him as her Washington-based supervisor.
So the little fish are dropping dimes on bigger fish, and the bigger fish are ratting out their bosses. It’s a classic organized-crime takedown. Compare all this to the Obama Administration’s initial lies about low-level employees farting around in the chilly basements of Cincinnati.
Hull will be talking about the notorious Lois Lerner, head of the Tax-Exempt Organizations Division, and her “atypical instructions” to give Tea Party applications “an uncommon multi-layer review”:
Lerner eventually told Hull that tea party applications would have to go through a round of review at the IRS Chief Counsel’s office, which “created a bottleneck and caused the delay of other Tea Party applications in Cincinnati,” according to Oversight Committee documents.
Former IRS official Michael Seto also told investigators about an email Lerner sent laying out her new review process, in which tea party applications would have to go through her staff, according to Oversight documents.
As The Daily Caller reported, Hull instructed Hofacre’s Cincinnati office, which oversaw audits of tax-exempt nonprofit groups, to target tea party groups and provided her a copy of a letter he wrote to a conservative group requesting additional information in an audit. Hull signed a May 12, 2010 letter to the Albuquerque Tea Party, grilling the group on the recent content of itsnewsletters and its website.
“I was essentially a front person, because I had no autonomy or no authority to act on [applications] without Carter Hull’s influence or input,” Hofacre told congressional investigators.
Remember that little sunshower of lefty blog jubilation a few weeks ago, when they convinced themselves liberal groups were targeted for harassment too, and the whole story was essentially over? That was fun, wasn’t it?
The Daily Caller notes that Hull probably won’t be pleading the Fifth to escape congressional oversight, as Lois Lerner did. (By the way, does anyone know if she’s still drawing a fat federal paycheck to sit around and do nothing except protect the Obama Administration from a criminal investigation? Is she still allowed to access our priceless personal data by logging into the IRS computer system?)
Meanwhile, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee is wondering if Attorney General Eric Holder plans to use the Justice Department for anything more productive that waging a massive federal crusade against George Zimmerman. Fox News reports:
A top Republican senator is pressing Attorney General Eric Holder for answers following allegations by a government watchdog that the IRS may have improperly accessed the tax records of a political donor or candidate — but the Justice Department declined to prosecute the case.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, questioned whether that DOJ decision was “politically motivated.”
The original allegation was one of several in a letter from J. Russell George, the inspector general who oversees the IRS, to Grassley. For the first time, George revealed claims that IRS officials targeted political candidates for audits, and that, separately, donor or candidate tax information was improperly accessed or disclosed.
At least one documented case of “willful unauthorized access” to confidential tax data was referred to DOJ, but “the case was declined for prosecution.” Gee, you’d think a department of “justice” would prosecute something like that. But you’d need an Attorney General who wasn’t primarily concerned with protecting the White House from scandal, ratcheting up racial tensions to motivate Democrat voters, disarming law-abiding citizens, and arming Mexican drug lords. Maybe Holder will claim he never saw this letter. He’s already escaped prosecution for perjury by claiming he doesn’t read his mail.
The Fox report concludes by saying the identity of the affected persons remains a mystery. But here’s a little clue, courtesy of the Washington Times:
More than two years after her upstart Senate campaign rocked the Delaware political world, Christine O’Donnell got an unexpected contact from a U.S. Treasury Department agent warning that her private tax records may have been breached.
The phone message earlier this year shocked the battled-scarred candidate, a tea party favorite who knocked off Republican mainstay Michael Castle in the primary before losing in a bid to win Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s former seat.
“Ms. O’Donnell, this is Dennis Martel, special agent with the U.S. Department of Treasury in Baltimore, Md. … We received information that your personal federal tax info may have been compromised and may have been misused by an individual,” he said in the January message left on her cellphone.
For Ms. O’Donnell, the message immediately raised red flags.
On March 9, 2010, the day she revealed her plan to run for the Senate in a press release, a tax lien was placed on a house purported to be hers and publicized. The problem was she no longer owned the house. The IRS eventually blamed the lien on a computer glitch and withdrew it.
Now Mr. Martel, a criminal investigator for the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, was telling her that an official in Delaware state government had improperly accessed her records on that very same day.
Wow, what a coincidence! Of course, O’Donnell and Senator Grassley’s investigators “have run into a wall of silence, leaving more questions than answers about whether abuses of the IRS system extend to private individuals and not just the tax-exempt groups already identified as victims.” Walls of silence are the primary product of the Obama Administration, followed closely by bankrupt green-energy companies and unemployment. We’ll soon find out if Congressman Issa really does have the jackhammer of testimony he’ll need to crack through those walls.